‘Chicken’ is directed by Barry Dignam, with Darren Healy and Niall O’Shea as the two young stars in a very short movie (3 mins) but boy does it pack a punch. It is atmospheric being set in the Irish countryside beside a railway line. You can almost hear the mothers saying ‘don’t go near the line it is dangerous!’
The boys are escaping from adult oversight, engaging in what boys do; drink, throw stones at empty cans, and then Chicken takes on a dark overtone, with Mick (Darren Healy) pushing Kev (Niall O’Shea) into a game of mumbly peg. A form of intimacy creeps in because the game has Mick’s hand overlaying Kev’s, with the fingers splayed out as he (Mick) moves a knife between their fingers, the aim being not to hit the fingers, and whilst this is going on you can hear a train approaching generating more tension and adding an extra dimension in terms of the noise of train gaining with it coming closer.
As the train speeds by, Mick accidentally cuts Kev and his own finger. This leads to them clasping each other’s hands which leads to Kev embracing Mick – something that you feel Mick has been longing for, but not knowing how to get.
‘Chicken’ ends, with a single screen of credits, and then the last shot showing a red sunset sky with the boys silhouetted against it and the sound of waves crashing gently on the shore.
Director – Barry Dignam
Writer – Audrey O’Reilly
Stars – Darren Healy and Niall O’Shea
Filming locations: – County Wicklow, Ireland
Production companies: – Bórd Scannán na hÉireannHit and Run Productions